Starting off talking about Disney in earlier posts it only makes sense to start off this post by talking about this company in this post now, but the bulk of this post will be about conglomerates in general. Disney as mentioned previously is one of the largest conglomerates and has an enormous influence in the media world. This being said,Disney as we have seen through my timeline on an earlier blog is only getting larger and larger making it more powerful. Like Disney there are other conglomerates out there that are large and make up a big portion of the industry which for them is great, but for us as consumers it can be a bit worry-some. As these large conglomerates like Disney continue to grow the general public should become more and more concerned. The following are three concerns the public should have concerning the growth of conglomerates and the concentration of media ownership.
1. Vertical Integration – As is pertains to media vertical integration is when a company or in most cases a conglomerate has and owns operations and businesses across various industries. This integration is great for the business in more ways than one, but it also means that the public will get less views on the opinion of something since there is no way a company is going to say anything negative about something they own. Vertical integration also allows for cross selling and promotion which is also great for the business as seen in an earlier post about Disney’s cross promotion, but once again if the only one promoting and selling products is the company itself it leaves the public with a very one sided opinion and lacks diversity. The video in the link is short and basic but gives an example of Disney’s Vertical Integration.
2. Public Relations – The large role public relations plays in our lives and news today is a bit concerning considering the role public relations agencies have in many large companies today. As our textbook points out the practices of PR agencies are often invisible to the public. With pretty much every large company out there in the world today having a PR department it means that the company can spin a story in any way they want the public to view it. Obviously a company is going to spin a story to their best interest which can leave the public in the dark about the facts and what is really going on. One great quote I found about PR is the following, ” Public relations specialists make flower arrangements of the facts, placing them so that the wilted and less attractive petals are hidden by the sturdy blooms.”
3. Media sways opinion and influences – The influence of media is something that nobody can can stay clear of since it is all around us and has become an everyday part of our lives. The influence media can have on the public is tremendous and the way it sways and persuades these days makes many question their own thoughts, ideas, values, and ideals because often times the media makes it seem like what they are putting out is how something should be and any other thought is completely irrelevant. And if the media believes too many people are not on board with a certain concept they will have an agenda to get people to see something from the view they want the public to see it from. The media can control everything from your eating habits, to your clothes and everything in between. The video linked above is a bit long, but it really does voice an honest truth about the media and makes you realize how much it controls our views.
Due to the massive amount of power conglomerates have it is important that the public is informed and educated on how the media and big conglomerates can influence their lives. If the public is educated they are less likely to be influenced by these concerns and issues. Because conglomerates are only going to become larger and the media influence stronger educating the public is pretty much the best thing that can be done since conglomerates are so powerful and it is difficult to stop them.